Competency of the English Language
English is an international language, and the language spoken most often at home in Singapore. Singapore is also ranked among the top 5 nations in terms of English proficiency, and has more than 96% passing rate in English during the 2018 PSLE exams. While most primary school students are competent to speak and write in English, not many of them actually excel in the language. This can be attributed to students’ weaknesses in some major components of the primary level English Language paper. Consequently, many parents opt to enrol their children in English tuition at various centres to help them overcome these weaknesses. As such, let’s explore the major components that should be covered during primary English tuition.
A good tuition centre will utilise an integrated approach to meet student’s English Language requirements. English tuition should fine tune students’ competence in areas such as reading, writing, listening and conversing. Ideally, the tuition programme must encompass every aspect of the current MOE syllabus including vocabulary, grammar, oral, composition skills and comprehension tactics, so as to give students an advantage to ace the school exams. In addition, students should be trained to understand, use and apply complicated grammar rules accurately by simplifying these rules into tiny digestible portions. Students’ English language skills can then be further developed by exposing them to a wide variety of text types, genres and topics in original content from newspapers, magazines, fiction and non-fiction books, and of course, the internet.
After adopting an integrated approach, one of the main components that English tuition should focus on is comprehension. Students should be given the necessary coaching to enhance their metacognitive abilities, identify logic gaps and develop critical thinking. They will then be able to adopt skills to help them analyse comprehension passages, answer precisely to the questions’ requirements and tackle challenging inferential questions.
When given a comprehension passage, students should first read it at least twice to better grasp and understand its contents. Next, they must read and analyse the questions carefully before identifying exactly where the answers can be found in the passage. Once they have obtained and highlighted the answers from the passage, they should proceed to answer the question in a structured and grammatically correct way. Wherever possible, they need to paraphrase their answers and craft them in their own words, rather than lift wholesale from the passage. For questions where the answers are not so straightforward such as vocabulary components, students should observe how the vocabulary word/phrase is used in the passage, and try to make an intelligent guess on its actual meaning.
Another major component that English tuition should focus on is composition writing. Emphasis can be placed on enhancing the writing process and journaling, by utilising the 6-traits of the writing model. These traits are explained further below:
- Ideas- Create only one topic to relay a concise message.
- Organisation- Introduce an idea in a sensible structure, including, start, middle and ending.
- Voice- Enhance reader interest through intentional writer emotion, attitude and feeling.
- Choice- Making use of the appropriate word at the appropriate time to relay the correct meaning.
- Fluency- Enhance the readability of the composition essay by adopting holistic thoughts and a wide range of sentences.
- Conventions- Ensuring that the composition essay is free of errors by adhering to the rules of grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, paragraphing and capitalisation.
Next, here are some tips for continuous composition writing that almost every good English tuition centre will impart to students.
- Always read the question carefully, and identify and highlight the main points.
- Analyse and interpret the images carefully, and ensure that your content is written based on at least one of it, with the topic in mind.
- Plan your content before writing! Many students jump straight into writing the composition without proper planning, and often get struck or run out of ideas halfway through. A simple plan can include the following:
- Identify the characters, environment, problem, climax and solution to the problem.
- Solid introduction by deciding how to begin your story. Some common examples include, dialogue, flashback, describing the surrounding, question and much more.
- Decide what to write in the content of your body and ensure that it will cover at least 3 or more paragraphs.
- End your story with an equally solid conclusion, usually by identifying the solution to the problem and including a lesson that can be learnt.
- Observe all rules of the English Language when writing your composition. Be wary of grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure and paragraphing. Try to write short but grammatically correct sentences, instead of long ones that are laden with mistakes. In addition, enhance your composition by using at least 5 or more interesting (but grammatically accurate) vocabulary words and phrases.
While most students can speak and write the English language, not many have actually mastered it. There is where an experienced tuition centre with a track record in English tuition comes in. The centre must be apt in improving the students’ language competency and ignite their passion and creativity in the English language. Edufront has one of the most effective English Language programmes in Singapore. Created by our very own Programme Director for English, the programme incorporates research on language acquisition as well as various research-based practices and strategies in the acquisition of the English language around the world. So check out our English tuition programme today!